Skip to content

Bankruptcy Court Finds NFL Concussion Settlement Awards Exempt

2018 October 16

In what may provide a protective shield for retired players, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Florida recently ruled that Monetary Awards under the NFL Class Action Settlement Agreement are exempt property.

That means, if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your Monetary Award may not be subject to creditors taking your award to pay off debts.

The Court found that the Monetary Awards under the NFL Class Action Settlement Agreement fall within the exemption provision of Section 522(d)(10)(c), which exempts “disability benefits.”

The Court said that the Monetary Award, unlike a typical tort claim settlement that is not exempt, is “undeniably indicative of a disability policy.” This is because, the Court reasoned, the “overall structure of the Settlement Agreement and the medical procedures in place to filter claims.”

The Court noted the “multitude of procedural hoops” a retired player must go through in order to obtain a Monetary Award. For example, a player must be diagnosed by a qualified physician with a specific diagnosis; the award is not guaranteed; and the amount of the award is dependent on age and years of service, among many other factors.

This decision is quite surprising, yet well-reasoned. Whether other bankruptcy district courts will accept this reasoning is yet to be seen. But for now, it is a persuasive decision that may benefit any retired player that is currently going through the bankruptcy process.

The full decision can be found here, In re Williams, 586 B.R. 355 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2018). You should consult a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss how this decision may impact you. Nothing herein should be construed as legal advice.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.